Two important new versions of the Land Rover Freelander, Europe's best selling 4x4, go on sale in the UK on 1 September. At the same time, there are upgrades across the range.

For the first time, a V6 version of the Freelander will be available. A five-speed automatic gearbox, featuring Steptronic 'manual' change, is standard. At the same time, Land Rover introduces a new turbo-diesel model using the Td4

2.0-litre common rail engine, made by BMW. This engine offers substantial improvements in power and torque as well as much greater refinement compared with the outgoing turbo-diesel Freelander. Both the V6 and Td4 versions will be available in three- and five-door body styles. The V6 is available in two trim levels - 'GS' and 'ES' while the Td4 adds an 'S' trim level. UK on the road prices start at £21,595 for the V6 3 door GS and £17,195 for the Td4 3 door S.

New V6 petrol engine

The Freelander V6 is a significant addition to the Freelander range that, since its launch in 1997, has become the best-selling 4x4 in the UK and Europe. The all-alloy 2.5 litre V6 engine develops 177 PS at 6500 rpm and 240 Nm at 4000 rpm, nearly 50 percent more power and torque than the current 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. This improvement gives customers dramatically improved driveability aided by its five-speed automatic transmission with sport mode and Steptronic control. The engine features a Siemens fuel injection and engine management system and incorporates an advanced Variable Induction System (VIS) to provide maximum response across a wide rev range. A profiled cam in the throttle system gives fine control at low engine speeds but quick response on the open road, reflecting Freelander's on- and off-road capabilities.

New Td4 common rail diesel engine

The Freelander Td4 replaces the current turbo-diesel model. The Td4 features a 2.0-litre, 16-valve, direct injection engine using state-of-the-art common rail technology. The engine develops 112 PS at 4000 rpm and 260 Nm at 1750 rpm and compared with the previous diesel unit, the Td4 has 15 percent more power and 24 percent more torque. Max torque is also developed further down the rev range for improved response. The combustion system has dual inlet ports to provide maximum flexibility while a pilot injection is used to improve refinement. In order to reduce turbo 'lag', the Td4 engine has a Variable Nozzle Turbine (VNT) that alters the pitch of the inlet vanes to give optimum profile for each point in the rev range. This maximises low-speed flexibility for off-road use while still providing excellent high-speed performance. Throttle control is electronic 'drive-by-wire' with no physical link between the throttle pedal and the engine. Freelander Td4 is available with a new five-speed manual gearbox or with the five-speed automatic Steptronic gearbox.

New five-speed automatic Steptronic transmission

The five-speed automatic Steptronic gearbox is equipped with several drive modes for maximum control. 'Normal' mode provides for normal automatic change while moving the selector lever into the Steptronic gate gives a 'Sport' mode that has unique shift maps. In this mode the gearbox changes down more readily and holds onto lower gears longer to give better acceleration and improved response. This part of the selector gate also provides the Steptronic control. In 'Steptronic' mode a brief forward or backward movement of the lever gives up or down gear shifts with maximum ease. Steptronic allows fast, smooth gear changes and improves off road performance by giving more control to the driver and reducing power and traction loss. To improve traction in snow or slippery conditions, the driver can elect to move off in first or second gear while in this mode. In 'Normal' change mode, Hill Descent Control (HDC) can be selected in first or reverse gear to limit downhill speeds off road. Cruise control is available as an option with the automatic gearbox on both V6 and Td4 engine derivatives.

Other elements of the transmission remain the same as on previous Freelander models. An Intermediate Reduction Drive (IRD) unit incorporates the front axle differential and a bevel drive for the rear axle prop shaft. Drive to the rear axle is controlled by a Viscous Coupling Unit (VCU), which apportions drive by sensing relative slippage between the front and rear wheels.

Revised Braking System

To improve braking, the new Freelander models have larger, vented, front brake discs and larger diameter rear drums. A revised ABS system is now standard on all models. The system incorporates Hill Descent Control (HDC) to limit down hill speed when off-road and Electronic Traction Control (ETC) to limit wheel slip in conditions such as mud and snow. A new feature of the system is Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) that balances brake force between front and rear axles for maximum efficiency.

Exterior, interior changes

All 2001 Freelander models have a new bumper and grille with the Freelander V6 having a longer profile to suit the engine installation. Clear direction indicator lamp lenses are a further distinguishing feature of the new models. The new Freelanders retain the flexibility of the Freelander range with a choice of three-door Softback or Hardback or five-door Station Wagon versions - the 3 door V6 being the first in the small leisure sector.

The new Freelander models have a host of interior and electrical changes. The centre console has been revised to include the gearbox selector and Hill Descent Control (HDC) switch on automatic models. There is a new centre cubby box that incorporates the window lift switches and an electrical accessory socket. The heating and ventilation system has been improved with a larger fan to increase air flow. A pollen filter is standard. The air conditioning is comprehensively enhanced with a larger evaporator unit to improve efficiency and a constantly engaged compressor for smoother cooling delivery. The 'In Car Entertainment' system has also been improved with a six-speaker system now standard. Other new electrical features include electric rear windows on five-door models and an improved security system.

Improvements for Top-of-the-Range Model

Available with both the V6 and Td4 engines, the top-of-the-range ES model features a high level of specification including leather seat facings, leather steering wheel and gear knob. Heated front seats are standard as are illuminated vanity mirrors and powerfold door mirrors (optional on other models). An electric sun roof is fitted and the ICE system incorporates a CD autochanger and remote, steering wheel mounted controls.